Six boards. Eight miles of downwind gliding. Here are the models that rose to the top. The test fleet included the Imagine Connector, SIC V2, SIC FX, Starboard All Star, and Naish Glide.

About this Test
Six staffers of varied sizes and abilities swapped boards on a downwind run from Viento to Hood River. Winds were 20-30 mph. Swells were shin to shoulder high. A tough task for sure, and hardly perfect one: One downwind session does not make a comprehensive SUP test. But the first impressions below are telling. And you can test this fleet yourself. All of these models (and others) are available for demo, and can be utilized with our exclusive downwind shuttle service. Up to $100 in demo fees can apply to a new board.

2016 Imagine Connector

14’ x 29.5”
284 Liters
Weight: 11.85 kg, 26.1 lbs


Test Results Stability: 10, Tracking: 8.5, Glide: 8.5, Speed: 7, Overall Impression: 10

Matt Morrow, 185 lbs, Advanced
What I Liked: Amazing stability, and amazing glides. The board is just fun to ride. It’s a perfect blend of performance and ease of use. The 2016 Connectors are lighter than last year’s, which translated into effortless acceleration onto swells. Dislikes: Nothing. This board is the real deal – perfect for its intended use. Best Suits: anyone over 150 pounds looking for a first downwind board that they won’t soon outgrow.

TJ Gulizia, 165 lbs, Expert
What I Liked: User friendliness, and its light weight for its size and volume. The Connector never pearled. It’s a nice update to last year’s shape. Dislikes: The 29.5″ model was too wide for my weight and ability. I’d prefer the 27″ model. Best Suits: beginner to advanced paddlers looking for instant fun and success on downwind runs.

Eddy Patricelli, 185 lbs, Novice
What I Liked: Stability. It was easy to stand up, look up, and focus on catching swells (read: not keeping my balance). Dislikes: No snags. It’s a board I want to own. It planed up early and easily on a swell, felt lively underfoot, and blended responsiveness with friendliness. Best Suits: me. I’m new to downwinding. The Connector kept my progression on a fast track, largely because I was smiling while riding it.

2016 Naish Glide GTW

14’ x 29”
280 Liters
Weight: 14.8 kg, 30 lbs


Test Results Stability: 9.5, Tracking: 8, Glide: 7.25, Speed: 6.75, Overall Impression: 7

MacRae Wylde, 170 lbs, Expert
What I Liked: The board was stable and very predictable. Once on the wave it just kept on going. Dislikes: It felt a little heavy, and less dynamic than narrower boards in this fleet. This board was too big for me, although I was able to get some great rides. Best Suits: larger riders (185+ lbs) looking for a friendly downwind shape.

TJ Gulizia, 165 lbs, Expert
What I Liked: Weight was reasonable at 32 lbs. New construction is a big step up. Beautiful board with its exposed wood, which also attributes to dampening properties in rough water. Dislikes: It took some effort to catch bumps. It felt like a board well-suited for flat-water touring that could handle an added load for day trips that involve supplies. Best Suits: Big riders who want a stable board for touring and downwind runs.

Matt Morrow, 185 lbs, Advanced
What I Liked: It carried speed well. Some of my longest rides of the day were on this board. Very stable. Looks beautiful and the wood construction smoothed out the chop. Dislikes: Acceleration felt sluggish. Best Suits: Plus-size riders looking for a good all-round performer.

2016 SIC FX 14’ SCC

14’ x 25”
290 Liters
Weight: 10.8 kg, 24 lbs


Test Results Stability: 6, Tracking: 7.5, Glide: 9, Speed: 9.5, Overall Impression: 8

MacRae Wylde, 170 lbs, Expert
What I Liked: Speed – this is an extremely fast board. Dislikes: It’s narrow at 25” wide, and requires an “A” game, and time to get used to. The board felt a bit small for me. I never quite felt comfortable, but I also didn’t fall off. Best Suits: Lightweight paddlers or those who are very skilled.

TJ Gulizia, 165 lbs, Expert
What I Liked: Maneuverability and versatility. The exaggerated rocker enhances maneuverability on a wave. I also liked the lightweight, full-carbon wrap construction, and that the board’s stock fin worked well for both flat water and downwinding. Dislikes: In cross chop and cross wind, the board’s considerable tail rocker and tall side walls got pushed around a bit. But it’s a board I would own. It’s a solid do-it-all carbon race board for under 3K. Best Suits: Aggressive paddlers looking for speed over stability, and those who want a one-board solution for flat water and downwinding.

2016 SIC FX 12’6” SCC

12’6” x 25.5”
265 Liters
Weight: 9.9 kg, 22 lbs


Test Results Stability: 6, Tracking: 7, Glide: 8, Speed: 9, Overall Impression: 8

Jodie Gates, 115 lbs, Advanced
What I Liked: its nimbleness. Once I caught a swell, it was easy to maneuver and stay with the wave. Dislikes: For a downwind run it was less stable than the SIC Bullet 12’6”. Moving forward and back became easier with time, but it took some getting used to. I would own this board for racing. It’s fast and sleek, and can cruise on both flat water and downwinders. Best Suits: Lightweight paddlers looking for one board to do it all.

MacRae Wylde, 170 lbs, Expert
What I Liked: The board just wanted to keep going. It responded well to fore and aft movement, ideal for catching waves. Dislikes: It’s a small board for my size. It’s a bit unstable till you get it moving. That said, I was impressed. I would consider it as a go-to ride. Best Suits: Experienced paddlers who want to go fast.

2016 SIC Bullet 14’ V2

14’ x 27.25”
269 Liters
Weight: 12.2 kg, 27 lbs


Test Results Stability: 9.25, Tracking: 8.75, Glide: 10, Speed: 9.75, Overall Impression: 9.25

Matt Morrow, 185 lbs, Advanced
What I Liked: Perfect balance of stability, speed, glide and fun on a swell. Catches mad glides. Easy to paddle, and it accelerates quickly. Dislikes: Not a thing. It continues to be my favorite downwind board. Best Suits: Just about anyone, with the exception of heavyweights or beginner downwinders. Otherwise, this is the perfect downwind board.

TJ Gulizia, 165 lbs, Expert
What I Liked: It’s still a personal favorite of mine for Gorge downwinders. Loved the added Innegra construction in the tip and tail for added durability. New paint job is solid too. Dislikes: nothing. For a downwind specific board, the V2 is my first choice. Best Suits: Anyone looking for a Gorge downwind board that they will never outgrow, and has tremendous resale value.

MacRae Wylde, 170 lbs, Expert
What I Liked: The board felt instantly both comfortable and nimble, fast and maneuverable. Dislikes: not much. Best Suits: Just about anyone.

2016 Starboard All Star Carbon

14’ x 25”
289 Liters
Weight: 11.7 kg, 25.8 lbs


Test Results Stability: 7, Tracking: 9.25, Glide: 10, Speed: 9.5, Overall Impression: 9.5

Matt Morrow, 185 lbs, Advanced
What I Liked: Smooth riding, effortless acceleration – felt like one of the best designed and constructed boards I have ever paddled on. Dislikes: For my weight and ability, it was too narrow for downwinding. I’d opt for the 27” or 28” wide model. For just flat-water paddling, however, I’d stick with this 25” wide model. Best Suits: advanced paddlers looking for a downwind weapon that is just as deadly on flat water.

TJ Gulizia, 165 lbs, Expert
What I Liked: Flex, speed, acceleration and maneuverability off the tail. The tracking is incredible due to the deep center channel and enhanced by the addition of a Black Project Maliko carbon fin. Dislikes: nothing. It impressed me the most on this downwinder, and was so fast that I had to put on the brakes at times. Best Suits: Anyone looking for a podium finish. It’s the ultimate one-board solution for flat water and downwinding. Don’t let the price tag fool you. It’s like getting two boards for the price of … well, let’s say 1.5 boards!

MacRae Wylde, 170 lbs, Expert
What I Liked: The board is a race horse waiting to be ridden hard. The more I pushed, the faster it went. It responded well to the fore and aft footwork needed for downwinding. Dislikes: I didn’t get to ride it very long. I would own this board. It was my favorite of the session. Best Suits: While it’s not a beginner board, I would recommend it to just about anyone. It challenges and rewards riders by matching what they put into it. As a rider becomes a better paddler, the board becomes a better board.

Demo these boards for yourself at our Event Site Waterfront Center, and hop aboard our downwind shuttle service for epic runs from Viento to Hood River.


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